The Dade City Commission delivered its latest review for City Manager Leslie Porter, and they identified some key areas for improvement.
They rated Porter’s overall performance at a 4.1 out of 5.0 scale, and said focus areas for improvement are in building relationships and communications.
The five commissioners graded Porter in these categories: management in administration, adhering to governance, relationship-building, leadership, and financial acumen.
She received the evaluation at the commission’s June 9 virtual meeting.
This was Porter’s fourth review since she was officially named city manager last May. Going forward, she will receive annual performance reviews like other city department heads and administrators.
In a summary of the latest evaluation, Mayor Camille Hernandez explained Porter “scored a little bit lower” when it came to cultivating relationships with legislators, residents, merchants, The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce and so on.
The mayor also advised Porter — who resides in Tampa — that she needs to better familiarize herself with the municipality as a whole, along with the various city departments and employees.
Hernandez observed, “I think the communication, listening to the citizens, getting involved and responding, and serving as an effective spokesperson are really more of the primary areas (for improvement).”
In fairness, Hernandez pointed out the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down some of those objectives she previously had discussed at length with Porter. With that, the mayor did credit Porter for keeping the community informed through social media websites and online newsletters in the last few months.
Commissioner Jim Shive thanked Porter for “keeping the city at hand” through the pandemic, adding, “We all know that Leslie is a very hard worker, and she’s doing a great job in some areas.”
The city manager’s other evaluations this past year “have continued to come in satisfactory,” Commissioner Scott Black added.
Reflecting on her first year as city manager, Porter said: “I will just say it has been a whirlwind of a year, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity, (and) to continue the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Hernandez noted another matter to hash out is finalizing the reorganization of city administration.
Specifically, having Porter fully relinquish finance director duties — the original position she was hired for back in 2014. Porter has juggled both roles since February 2019, when she was then appointed interim city manager.
A possible candidate for the finance director post is Venus Irvine, who became the city’s assistant finance director in March.
The issue likely will be addressed further once budget conversations begin and new commissioners come aboard following the June 30 municipal election.
In any case, “a separation of duties” Hernandez said.
The mayor added: “The intent was never to have the city manager acting as the city finance director as well.”
Published June 24, 2020